Best Glasgow museums & galleries

Just a half hour drive from the Waterfront is the city of Glasgow. As the largest city in Scotland Glasgow has an abundance of culture to satisfy even the most avid art lovers. From classic Scottish architecture by Rennie Mackintosh to the famous impressionists such as Renoir, Glasgow is host to an array of interesting, unusual, beautiful and historically important artefacts. Here is our pick of the top galleries and museums to visit.

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1. Kelvin Grove Art Gallery and Museum

As one of Scotland’s most popular free attractions the Kelvin Grove Art Gallery has 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries displaying an astonishing 8,000 objects. This is somewhere you can easily wile away several hours, and with lots of interactive displays aimed at engaging younger minds, you can be confident the kids won’t get bored.

This architectural masterpiece is grand enough to rival Europe’s great art collections. You’ll find Rembrandts alongside Renoirs, as well as armour and Ancient Egypt. The museum’s a great free day out for families and has its own cafes and shops.

Find out more about the Kelvin Grove Art Gallery

2. Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel

After the Glasgow Transport Museum closed its doors for the last time in 2010, the Riverside Museum provided a new home for many of the much loved attractions.

The multi-award winning  museum is home to over 3,000 objects that detail Glasgow’s rich past from its days as maritime powerhouse to a glimpse into daily Glasgow life in the early to mid 20th Century.

?Amongst the objects on display are everything from skateboards to locomotives, paintings to prams, velocipedes to voiturettes, vintage cars to a stormtrooper, there really is something to delight visitors of all ages.?

Find out more about he Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel

3. The Mackintosh House

The Hunterian Art Gallery houses one of the most important collections of the work of Scottish architect, designer and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) and his artist-wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864-1933).?

The Mackintosh House has reassembled the original fixtures from the Mackintoshes’ Glasgow home, 78 Southpark Avenue (originally 6 Florentine Terrace) from 1906 to 1914. Complete with the contents of the original home the architects took pains to ensure that the sequence of rooms exactly reflected the original.

Find out more about the Hungarian Mackintosh House

4. The Burrell Collection

The award-winning Burrell Collection displays over 9,000 antiquities, objects, tapestries and paintings by major artists, including Cezanne and Degas. The Collection is housed in an award winning museum in the heart of Pollok Country Park, surrounded by a beautiful woodland setting and is one of the greatest collections ever created by one person (shipping magnate and entrepreneur, Sir William Burrell). Entire reassembled medieval stone doorways jostle with Persian carpets and priceless sculptures like Rodin’s “The Thinker”along with important examples of late medieval, Chinese and Islamic art.

Find out more about the Burrell Collection

5. Glasgow Science Centre

Glasgow Science Centre is one of Scotland’s must-see visitor attractions – presenting concepts of science and technology in unique and inspiring ways. Glasgow Science Centre is an independent Scottish Charity which aims to create interactive experiences that inspire, challenge and engage to increase awareness of science for all in Scotland.

Find out more about the Glasgow Science Centre

6. House for an Art Lover

House for an Art Lover has a fascinating history which defines the pioneering creativity of its designer and the ambition and ingenuity of a group of dedicated artists and engineers who worked to complete his vision more than 70 years later.

In 1901 Mackintosh, Glasgow’s most famous architect, entered a competition to design a ‘Haus Eines Kunstfreundes’ or ‘Art Lovers House’ set by German design magazine Zeitschrift Fur Innendekoration.

The rules of the competition stated that only “genuinely original modern designs will be considered”. It went on to make the somewhat unusual proposition that ‘it is permissible and even desirable that an Architect and a Decorative Artist of modern tastes develop and submit the design jointly’, a situation which more than suited Mackintosh who worked on the project with his new wife, Margaret Macdonald.

Find out more about House for an Art Lover

7. People’s Palace & Winter Garden

The People’s Palace looks at the development of Glasgow and the story of its people, from the 1700s to the late 20th century. It is set in Glasgow Green, the oldest public space in Glasgow and an idyllic spot to take a stroll or stop for a picnic. From Billy Connolly’s infamous Banana Boots to tobacco lords and trade unions, the museum hosts a wide variety of objects, images and personal stories revealing the history of this great city. After you’ve finished sight seeing you can relax in the Winter Gardens – an elegant Victorian glasshouse which is home to tropical plants from around the world or enjoy a refreshing drink and bite to eat in the café! 

Find out more about the People’s Palace & Winter Garden

8. Tenement House

An original 19th-century tenement flat, this is a museum like you’ve never seen before! The Tenement House was lived in by an elderly lady, Miss Agnes Toward and her mother, and hasn’t changed for over half a century. The house takes you back in time from the minute you step in to the hallway and whilst there are only four rooms, it provides a real sense of daily life in early 20th-century Glasgow.

Find out more about the Tenement House Museum

9. Gallery of Modern Art

Housed in the former neo-classical townhouse of a wealthy Glasgow tobacco merchant, The Gallery of Modern Art is the most visited modern art gallery in Scotland.

Situated in Merchant City, in the heart of Glasgow’s shopping district. For over 100 years the building was a centre for business and commercial exchange where information and goods were traded.

Find out more about the Gallery of Modern Art

10. The Tall Ship

The Tall Ship, Glenlee, is one of Glasgow’s major visitor attractions. Built in 1896 Glenlee has worked as a cargo ship for over 20 years, circumnavigating the globe four times. It is now the only remaining Clyde-built sailing vessel afloat in the UK and is an icon of Glasgow’s ship building heritage.

The Tall Ship officially became an accredited museum in 2008 and offers a wide variety of  family events, educational projects, exhibitions and tours. Kids will love visiting the Captain’s Cabin, the children’s play area, engine room and cargo hold cinema.

Find out more about the Tall Ship: Glenlee

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